How's your sleep?

Did you know that poor sleep can increase stress hormones? Not sleeping well can also mess up your blood glucose regulation and interfere with those hormones that regulate your appetite and hunger levels. That means that we can actually gain weight as a result of not sleeping well. How unfair is that?

Most of us know the practical steps we can take to help with our sleep, such as avoiding blue light from screens before bed and that exercise is helpful as long as it’s not close to bedtime.

We also know that avoiding caffeine close to bedtime is a good idea, but what about other tweaks and additions to our diet might help us sleep better?

Let’s take them one by one:

1) Eating before bed:

It’s obvious I know but just paying attention to what you eat a couple of hours before bed can help. Foods high in fat and foods high in sugar eaten in the evening can impact your sleep. High-fat foods slow down the digestion process, and foods high in sugar can affect our blood glucose levels which then raise our stress hormone levels which then, of course, has a negative knock-on effect on our sleep. Alcohol, although we often think it will help, is also a no-no for a good nights sleep. That’s because it increases levels of dopamine in the brain, which has a stimulating effect and interferes with melatonin production, which is critical in helping us get a good nights sleep.

2) Eating regularly

Eating well balanced nourishing meals at regular intervals means that your blood glucose levels stay steady. That means skipping meals and going long periods between eating can have a negative impact on your sleep.

3) Eat Green

Did you know that spinach, kale, and other dark green vegetables can help us sleep better? It’s because they have minerals such as magnesium which boosts better sleep.

4) Foods to eat to help with sleep

Some foods are rich in tryptophan (an amino acid that is used by our bodies to make serotonin and melatonin). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that’s very important for many processes in our bodies, including mood regulation and promoting good sleep by regulating our circadian rhythms. We make the hormone melatonin in our pineal gland. Melatonin gets created from serotonin and is essential for our natural cycles of waking and sleep.
We can eat foods that contain melatonin. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts and peanuts and seeds such as sunflower seeds and flaxseeds have the highest levels. Vegetables such as sweetcorn, asparagus and olives and fruits such as strawberries, tomatoes, and grapes contain melatonin and so do grains such as oats.
Foods that are high in protein contain tryptophan such as chicken, eggs, cheese, fish, peanuts, nuts and seeds, tofu and soy and dairy foods. It’s also present in dark chocolate (hurray!)
Fruits such as apples, bananas, kiwi, grapes, avocados also contain vitamins and antioxidants that help promote sleep.
Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines also have the potential to improve sleep. That’s because they contain vitamin D and omega-3 fats which increase the production of serotonin in the brain.

5) Boost your vitamins and minerals

When sleep is the issue, it’s all about the B vitamins. Vitamin B6 is vital in the production of melatonin. We can make sure we get enough in our diet by eating bananas, chickpeas, avocados, fish and chicken and colourful veggies. If we eat things like beetroot, peanuts and white meat, we can also boost our levels of niacin (another B vitamin) which improves our REM cycle and reduces the number of times we wake at night.

Magnesium is the king of minerals when it comes to sleep. It has a relaxing effect on the body and calms the mind. As I’ve mentioned above, green leafy vegetables contain magnesium. Other good sources include soybeans, nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, pecans), seeds (sunflower, flaxseed) and also avocados, fish, yoghurt and bananas.
Calcium and zinc also play a role in sleep. Traditionally a warm milky drink is recommended before bed, and that’s because dairy products like milk contain both tryptophan and calcium. Good sources of calcium include dairy foods, soybeans, broccoli, and good sources of zinc include meat, legumes, pinenuts, cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, as well as dark chocolate.

 

Sleep is a vital indicator of your overall wellbeing and health. Making small adjustments to our diet can help promote good sleep.  How fantastic is that?

Eileen Fisher

Eileen Fisher

Hello, I’m Eileen Fisher. I’m an indoor and outdoor therapist and nutritionist. I offer counselling and psychotherapy for both individuals and couples, as well as nutrition advice and support around disordered eating.

14 Comments

  • Your blog is a beacon of light in the often murky waters of online content. Your thoughtful analysis and insightful commentary never fail to leave a lasting impression. Keep up the amazing work!

  • pilllow says:

    Its like you read my mind You appear to know a lot about this like you wrote the book in it or something I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a little bit but instead of that this is fantastic blog An excellent read I will certainly be back

  • [먹튀검증사이트] 카지노커뮤니티 이용으로 먹튀검증 및 토토사이트 먹튀를 예방하세요.

  • [먹튀검증] 카지노커뮤니티 이용으로 먹튀검증 및 토토사이트 먹튀를 예방하세요.

  • [토토사이트] 안전한 스포츠토토 메이저사이트 이용으로 토토사이트 먹튀를 예방하세요.

  • rubmd says:

    obviously like your website but you need to test the spelling on quite a few of your posts Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very troublesome to inform the reality on the other hand Ill certainly come back again

  • [먹튀검증] 안전한 스포츠토토 메이저사이트 이용으로 토토사이트 먹튀를 예방하세요.

  • elektriker says:

    This piece was incredibly enlightening! The level of detail and clarity in the information provided was truly captivating. The extensive research and deep expertise evident in this article are truly impressive, greatly enhancing its overall quality. The insights offered at both the beginning and end were particularly striking, sparking numerous new ideas and questions for further exploration.The way complex topics were broken down into easily understandable segments was highly engaging. The logical flow of information kept me thoroughly engaged from start to finish, making it easy to immerse myself in the subject matter. Should there be any additional resources or further reading on this topic, I would love to explore them. The knowledge shared here has significantly broadened my understanding and ignited my curiosity for more. I felt compelled to express my appreciation immediately after reading due to the exceptional quality of this article. Your dedication to crafting such outstanding content is highly appreciated, and I eagerly await future updates. Please continue with your excellent work—I will definitely be returning for more insights. Thank you for your unwavering commitment to sharing your expertise and for greatly enriching our understanding of this subject.

  • [먹튀검증] 토토사이트 먹튀 피해 예방을 위해 먹튀 사이트 검증 방법 총정리! 안전한 베팅을 위한 필수 지침

  • I’ve been following your blog for quite some time now, and I’m continually impressed by the quality of your content. Your ability to blend information with entertainment is truly commendable.

Leave a Reply